Tonight was my third speech from the Competent Communicator Manual… this one did not win best speech of the night, but I got a good reception anyway.
The Coming Race of Superhumans
Fellow Toastmasters and welcome guests, can I get a show of hands of how many of you like sci-fi? Good! You’re in for a treat.
|photo by Mark Witton||via PhotoRee|
It’s the year 2150, and the Earth is under attack by infidels from the planet Clod. The fleet has been mobilized and war is raging. Just about the time that all seems lost, however, the superhuman race, capable of completing amazing mental feats as they were engineered to do, pull together to lead our planet to victory. The Engineering superhumans accomplish this by developing the galaxy’s fastest and most powerful spacecraft. The creative superhumans come up with an ingenious plan to distract the enemy, thwarting further attacks. And the empathetic superhumans give emotional support and healing to the victims of the attack.
What would you say if I were to tell you those superhumans walk the earth today? What would you say if I were to tell you that you probably know one or two of them? Well, you do. They live in public as doctors and teachers, actors and comedians, authors and scientists. They weren’t developed in a laboratory but grew organically, a genetic mutation of the human race.
These superhumans are super smart, super creative, super sensitive the to the world around them and emotionally sensitive to other people. They also tend to have a killer sense of humor and can “see” connections many others can’t.
Who are these people?
|photo by MAMJODH||via PhotoRee|
Jim Carey. Justin Timberlake. Howie Mandel. Terry Bradshaw. Pete Rose. Michael Phelps. Woody Harrelson. Jack Nicholson. Christopher Knight. Paul Orfalea (founder of Kinko’s). Albert Einstein. Thomas Edison. Robin Williams (allegedly). And, some say, Leonardo DaVinci… there have even been books written about Leonardo’s superhuman abilities – notably, The DaVinci Method, a book which details the many benefits and methods of superhuman ability, which most frequently appears in the guise of a disability affecting approximately 4% of children and 2% of adults.
As a matter of fact, superhuman ability has been officially recognized for decades by the medical community and has a name: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD for short.
Now, you might be thinking, how can extraordinary ability be labeled a deficit? The reality is – and not many folks realize this – the attention deficit experienced by people with ADHD is actually an attention surplus.
Let me explain.
As you go about your daily life, you may notice sights, sounds, smells and sensations like the alarm clock buzzing, the coffee brewing downstairs, the music on the radio, the seams of your socks, the heat (or coldness) of the room you’re sitting in and the flavor of your lunch. While you may notice some stimuli, you ignore or fail to notice others. Not so for many ADHD people! They notice all of the above, and then some.
This phenomenon may help to explain why they seem to notice the most trivial things while at the same time seemingly not paying attention to others. It also might explain their empathy and intuitive abilities. A little kid with ADHD will wow you by asking if you’re OK or telling you not to be sad even though you’re putting on a happy face. If you have an ADHD boss? You’ll swear he’s psychic!
ADHD is also sometimes associated with a higher than average IQ. The reasons for this are unclear, but if you’ve ever taken an IQ test, you know that the questions measure your problem-solving abilities, as well as your capability to see beyond the obvious. Since individuals with ADHD excel at noticing everything and in making connections, they do well on these types of tests.
Learning new skills is also a piece of cake for these folks. A particular youngster that I know very well excels at playing strategy games like Khet, which is a game in which you shoot lasers at your opponent and you hope not to hit a mirrored piece, which causes the beam to bounce back and hit YOU, and this game, chess. He has had many, many troubles at school with things like impulse control and with learning to write legibly, but he has an unbelievable amount of focus when it comes to playing chess and, I have to say, he’s quite good at it.
I’d like to leave you with a quote from Steve Jobs, who says “In most cases, strengths and weaknesses are two sides of the same coin. A strength in one situation is a weakness in another, yet often the person can’t switch gears. It’s a very subtle thing to talk about strengths and weaknesses because almost always they’re the same thing.”
With all the traits I’ve listed above, ADHD folks can accomplish some pretty impressive mental feats. Whether saving the Earth from the influence of the Clodians, writing a groundbreaking novel, discovering electricity or simply putting you in checkmate again and again, the superhumans are here to stay and are blazing the path of humanity. Are you ready?